The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin Review

IMG_2528When I got my hands on a copy of this book I became ecstatic. I can’t even begin to explain to you how much I adore the Mara Dyer trilogy. There is just something so different, so unexpected with the writing and it takes you through a roller coaster of emotions and feelings and a ride you won’t soon forget.

Here is the blurb from GoodReads in case all you people who haven’t read it yet want to see what it’s about (though this is the final book of the trilogy so um if you haven’t read any of the books yet what are you doing here?):

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.
She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.
She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.
Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.


What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.” – Friedrich Nietzsche. This quote placed after the dedication page really got to me for some reason. The anticipation, the wait for what finally is to become of Mara and Noah was vibrating inside my mind and suddenly…it all disappeared when I read this quote. It’s true to a great extent. When someone does an action that is out of love, even if it can’t be justified in any other way, does take place beyond good and evil. There are so many events occurring outside my room in the world and yet can these people who are doing these events out of love, for their country, families or religion be either “good” or “evil”? I think there is a place in between reserved for actions done out of love.

Anyways away from that tangent…this book opens up on a video transcript of Mara being examined by the ‘wonderful’ Dr Kells. There is another person present and yet something is not quite right, something is off with this interview. They seem to keep trying drugs on her to create the reaction that they want and the answers that they need.

Its eerie and quite frightening to read but not as frightening as the next scene where Mara is talking to her own reflection. I still can’t quite grasp whether it was the drugs doing it to her or if she was just truly going crazy. Then she is in a room filled with blood and words written on the walls from the blood of Dr Kells’ “sidekick”. As soon as Jude’s voice appeared though, I don’t know why but I felt a sense of comfort in knowing she wasn’t wrong and that he was alive so there must be some sign of sanity left in her. The rescue scene was quite bad-ass if I do say so myself and I was thrilled to see her reunite with both Jamie and Stella and find Dr Kells ‘office’. I will grudgingly admit this but Dr Kells plan to trick Mara into going back was quite genius. Of course the only thing that would get to her is the fact that Noah could be alive so she had to use that…ugh.

I really enjoyed finding out the other characters’ skills such as Jamie’s ability to get people to do what he wanted and Stella’s ability to read peoples mind (or emotions I can’t quite remember). But the main thing I really enjoyed finding out about was Dr Kells past. The fact she was tied to Jude and his sister and the whole event was interesting and Michelle Hodkin really tied in that storyline beautifully with the rest of the overwhelming plot lines that kept unfolding.
There were quite dark and intense scenes throughout the book that makes me rethink the age group that I would recommend this trilogy to. The scene where Mara is self-harming herself so she can remove the objects Dr Kells placed into her was horrible and Stella’s ability to attempt to remain calm so she could help her helped me push through that scene. Also the scene where the driver they hitched a ride to attempted to…rape and hurt them from what I gathered was horrifying and reminded me of ‘The Lovely Bones’ but luckily didn’t have the same ending.

In general with this book, Mara gave me a ‘Dexter’ vibe that people who have watched this tv show will understand. In her mind she is justifying her actions by saying she is ‘riding the world’ of these bad people who do bad things. The kids who were bullying and hurting the woman they came across were cruel characters and in Mara’s mind she had the power to rid the world of these people. Every death that she was responsible for was justified in her mind for being to the ‘bad people’ of the world. Jamie at first agreed but slowly realised that it’s not their responsibility to take matters like this into their own hands.

When Stella left, it was quite sad, but to an extent I understood why she had to go. Already the events were overwhelming and Mara’s actions were getting more drastic by the minute. When Mara reunited with her brother though, I was happy because the bond between them seemed even stronger and you could tell he genuinely cared about her so much and there was an unconditional love that nothing could break.

The turn around point where Noah’s father is behind quite a lot of the events was surprising to me. Normally I’m good at seeing these sort of things coming but due to the fact his father wasn’t present in the other two books, it didn’t cross my mind to even consider him to have a part to play in the story. I just assumed he was a busy father who didn’t have much time for his family.

Now for the downfall (in my opinion) of the story. The conclusion. It was…so messy, so confusing, at one point Noah’s dead and then the next he’s alive and Mara’s dead and just everything got so overly confusing that it didn’t make any sense in the end. From what I understood in order to make the world a better place, Noah had to kill Mara himself. But he chooses not to, understandably, out of love for her. This then brings me back to the quote from the beginning. Noah’s dad did all of this out of the love of his wife, and her final words and…I guess in consequence, the love for his son. So does that really make him an evil character?

I sort of left out the storyline with the professor and past-Mara because, though I appreciated it and it tied in beautifully with the story, I found myself at times uninterested with it as it interrupted the flow of the story of present-Mara. I liked the connection between the professor and A.L. and everything made sense in that point. I also liked the conclusion because it wasn’t all tied up and happily ever after. It was different, there was not a ‘good’ or ‘evil’ person who one. It was just done.

Characters: 9 points
Plot: 9 points
Originality: 10 points
Language/Style: 10 points

Giving this last book 38 points out of 40 points. Probably my favourite book out of the whole trilogy, which I promise you rarely happens. Normally by the time it gets to the end either the plot or the writing tends to flop but this trilogy is so well-thought out and has obviously had time well-spent on it. Definitely one I’m going to start recommending to people to read (though maybe with an age-group of 16 and up). ^^

Favourite part: “You should’ve seen the way he was looking at you while you were out.” I smiled a little. “How?” “Like you’re the ocean and he’s desperate to drown.” 

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